Managing Stress _ Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Stress Managing Stress 1/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles How can I help handle my stress? Everyone has to deal with stress. There are steps you can take to help you handle stress in a positive way and keep it from making you sick. Try these tips to keep stress in check: Develop a new attitude Become a problem solver. Make a list of the things that cause you stress. From your list, gure out which problems you can solve now and which are beyond your control for the moment. From your list of problems that you can solve now, start with the little ones. Learn how to calmly look at a problem, think of possible solutions, and take action to solve the problem. Being able to solve small problems will give you con dence to tackle the big ones. And feeling con dent that you can solve problems will go a long way to helping you feel less stressed. Be exible. Sometimes, it’s not worth the stress to argue. Give in once in awhile or meet people halfway. Get organized. Think ahead about how you’re going to spend your time. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do and do those things rst. Set limits. When it comes to things like work and family, gure out what you can really do. There are only so many hours in the day. Set limits for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy. Relax Take deep breaths. If you’re feeling stressed, taking a few deep breaths makes you breathe slower and helps your muscles relax. Stretch. Stretching can also help relax your muscles and make you feel less tense. 2/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Massage tense muscles. Having someone massage the muscles in the back of your neck and upper back can help you feel less tense. Take time to do something you want to do. We all have lots of things that we have to do. But often we don’t take the time to do the things that we really want to do. It could be listening to music, reading a good book, or going to a movie. Think of this as an order from your doctor, so you won’t feel guilty! Take care of your body Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the stresses of the day. Also, being well-rested helps you think better so that you are prepared to handle problems as they come up. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel rested. Eat right. Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Don’t be fooled by the jolt you get from ca eine or highsugar snack foods. Your energy will wear o , and you could wind up feeling more tired than you did before. Get moving. Getting physical activity can not only help relax your tense muscles but improve your mood. Research shows that physical activity can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways. This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating. Connect with others Share your stress. Talking about your problems with friends or family members can sometimes help you feel better. They might also help you see your problems in a new way and suggest solutions that you hadn’t thought of. Get help from a professional if you need it. If you feel that you can no longer cope, talk to your doctor. She or he may suggest counseling to help you learn better ways to deal with stress. Your doctor 3/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles may also prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants or sleep aids. Help others. Volunteering in your community can help you make new friends and feel better about yourself. How can I cope with stress? The e ects of stress tend to build up over time. Taking practical steps to maintain your health and outlook can reduce or prevent these e ects. The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress: Seek help from a quali ed mental health care provider if you are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope. Get proper health care for existing or new health problems. Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations to reduce stress due to work burdens or family issues, such as caring for a loved one. Recognize signs of your body’s response to stress, such as di culty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy. Set priorities-decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload. Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do. Avoid dwelling on problems. If you can’t do this on your own, seek help from a quali ed mental health professional who can guide you. Exercise regularly-just 30 minutes per day of gentle walking can help boost mood and reduce stress. Schedule regular times for healthy and relaxing activities. 4/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. Meditation and Health Many people practice meditation for a number of health-related purposes. A 2007 national government survey found that 9.4% of respondents had used meditation in the past 12 months. What is meditation? The term meditation refers to a group of techniques which may be practiced for many reasons, such as to increase calmness and physical relaxation, to improve psychological balance, to cope with illness, or to enhance overall wellness. Most types of meditation have four elements in common: A quiet location. Meditation is usually practiced in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. This can be particularly helpful for beginners. A speci c, comfortable posture. Depending on the type being practiced, meditation can be done while sitting, lying down, standing, walking, or in other positions. A focus of attention. Focusing one’s attention is usually a part of meditation. For example, the meditator may focus on a mantra (a specially chosen word or set of words), an object, or the sensations of the breath. Having an open attitude during meditation means letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them. How can meditation a ect my health? It is not fully known what changes occur in the body during meditation; whether they in uence health; and, if so, how. Research is under way to nd out more about meditation’s e ects, how it works, and diseases and conditions for which it may be most helpful. 5/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the federal government’s lead agency for scienti c research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Some recent NCCAM-supported studies have been investigating meditation for relieving stress in caregivers for elderly patients with dementia and for relieving asthma symptoms. Is meditation right for me? Meditation is considered to be safe for healthy people but if you are thinking about using meditation practices to prevent asthma attacks, to control high blood pressure, to reduce arthritis pain, or for any other medical reason, be smart. LEARNING ACTIVITY Watch this short video about Meditation: Meditation Relaxation Techniques 6/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Relaxation techniques include a number of practices such as progressive relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. The goal is similar in all: to consciously produce the body’s natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm and well-being. Relaxation techniques (also called relaxation response techniques) may be used by some to release tension and to counteract the ill e ects of stress. Relaxation techniques are also used to induce sleep, reduce pain, and calm emotions. This fact sheet provides a general overview of relaxation techniques and suggests sources for additional information. KEY POINTS Relaxation techniques are used for a variety of healthrelated purposes, such as counteracting the e ects of stress on the body. Most relaxation techniques can be self-taught and selfadministered. Relaxation techniques are generally safe, but there is limited evidence of usefulness for speci c health conditions. Research is under way to nd out more about relaxation and health outcomes. Do not use relaxation techniques as a replacement for conventional care or to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. About Relaxation Techniques Relaxation is more than a state of mind; it physically changes the way 7/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles your body functions. When your body is relaxed breathing slows, blood pressure and oxygen consumption decrease, and some people report an increased sense of well-being. This is called the “relaxation response.” Being able to produce the relaxation response using relaxation techniques may counteract the e ects of long-term stress, which may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including depression, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images to calm the mind and the body. Most methods require only brief instruction from a book or experienced practitioner before they can be done without assistance. These techniques may be most e ective when practiced regularly and combined with good nutrition, regular exercise, and a strong social support system. Some relaxation response techniques include: Autogenic training. When using this method, you focus on the physical sensation of your own breathing or heartbeat and picture your body as warm, heavy, and/or relaxed. Biofeedback. Biofeedback-assisted relaxation uses electronic de- vices to teach you how to consciously produce the relaxation response. Biofeedback is sometimes used to relieve conditions that are caused or worsened by stress. Deep breathing or breathing exercises. To relax using this method, you consciously slow your breathing and focus on taking regular and deep breaths. Guided imagery. For this technique, you focus on pleasant images to replace negative or stressful feelings and relax. Guided imagery may be directed by you or a practitioner through storytelling or descriptions designed to suggest mental images (also called visualization). Progressive relaxation. (also called Jacobson’s progressive relax- ation or progressive muscle relaxation). For this relaxation method, 8/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles you focus on tightening and relaxing each muscle group. Progressive relaxation is often combined with guided imagery and breathing exercises. Self-Hypnosis. In self-hypnosis you produce the relaxation re- sponse with a phrase or nonverbal cue (called a “suggestion”). Selfhypnosis may be used to relieve pain (tension headaches, labor, or minor surgery) as well as to treat anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome. Mind and body practices, such as meditation and yoga are also sometimes considered relaxation techniques. You can read more about these practices in the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s (NCCAM) fact sheets Meditation: An Introduction and Yoga for Health: An Introduction. Use of Relaxation Techniques for Health in the United States People may use relaxation techniques as part of a comprehensive plan to treat, prevent, or reduce symptoms of a variety of conditions including stress, high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, depression, labor pain, headache, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, chemotherapy side e ects, and others. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by Americans, 12.7 percent of American adults used deepbreathing exercises, 2.9 percent used progressive relaxation, and 2.2 percent used guided imagery for health purposes. Most of those people reported using a book to learn the techniques rather than seeing a practitioner. To understand how consciously producing the relaxation response may a ect your health, it is helpful to understand how your body responds to the opposite of relaxation—stress. When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones that produce the “ ght-or- ight response:” Heart rate and breathing rate go up and 9/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles blood vessels narrow (restricting the ow of blood). This response allows energy to ow to parts of your body that need to take action, for example the muscles and the heart. However useful this response may be in the short term, there is evidence that when your body remains in a stress state for a long time, emotional or physical damage can occur. Long-term or chronic stress (lasting months or years) may reduce your body’s ability to ght o illness and lead to or worsen certain health conditions. Chronic stress may lead to high blood pressure, headaches, stomach ache, and other symptoms. Stress may worsen certain conditions, such as asthma. Stress also has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. In contrast to the stress response, the relaxation response slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases oxygen consumption and levels of stress hormones. Because relaxation is the opposite of stress, the theory is that voluntarily creating the relaxation response through regular use of relaxation techniques could counteract the negative e ects of stress. Status of Research on Relaxation Techniques In the past 30 years, there has been considerable interest in the relaxation response and how inducing this state may bene t health. Research has focused primarily on illness and conditions in which stress may play a role either as the cause of the condition or as a factor that can make the condition worse. Currently, there is some evidence that relaxation techniques may be an e ective part of an overall treatment plan for some disorders, including: Anxiety. Studies have suggested that relaxation may assist in the treatment of phobias or panic disorder. Relaxation techniques have also been used to relieve anxiety for people in stressful situations, such as when undergoing a medical procedure. Depression. In 2008, a major review of the evidence for relaxation in the treatment of depression found that relaxation techniques 10/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles were more e ective than no treatment for depression, but not as e ective as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Headache. There is some evidence that biofeedback and other re- laxation techniques may be helpful for relieving tension or migraine headaches. In some cases, these mind and body techniques were more e ective than medications for reducing the frequency, intensity, and severity of headaches. Pain. Some studies have shown that relaxation techniques may help reduce abdominal and surgery pain. The results of research on relaxation to promote overall health or wellbeing or to treat other health conditions have been mixed or unclear. These conditions include: High blood pressure. A 2008 review of evidence for relaxation in the treatment of high blood pressure found some evidence that progressive muscle relaxation lowered blood pressure a small amount. However, the review found no evidence that this e ect was enough to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, or other health issues due to high blood pressure. In a recent randomized controlled trial, 8 weeks of relaxation response/stress management was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure in hypertensive older adults, and some patients were able to reduce hypertension medication without an increase in blood pressure. Asthma. Several reviews of the literature have suggested that re- laxation techniques, including guided imagery, may temporarily help improve lung function and quality of life and relieve anxiety in people with asthma. A more recent randomized clinical trial of asthma found that relaxation techniques may help improve immune function. More studies are needed to con rm this nding. Nausea. Relaxation techniques may help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. 11/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Fibromyalgia. Although some preliminary studies report that using relaxation or guided imagery techniques may sometimes improve pain and reduce fatigue from bromyalgia, more research is needed. Irritable bowel syndrome. Some studies have indicated that relax- ation techniques may prevent or relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some participants. One review of the research found some evidence that self-hypnosis may be useful in the treatment of IBS. Heart disease and heart symptoms. Researchers have looked at relaxation techniques for the treatment of angina and the prevention of heart disease. When a cardiac rehabilitation program was combined with relaxation response training in a clinic, participants experienced signi cant reductions in blood pressure, decreases in lipid levels, and increases in psychological functioning when compared to participants’ status before the program. Although studies have shown that relaxation techniques combined with other lifestyle changes and standard medical care may reduce the risk of recurrent heart attack, more study is needed. Insomnia. There is some evidence that relaxation techniques can help in treating chronic insomnia. Researchers have found some evidence on the e ectiveness of relaxation techniques for: Temporomandibular disorder. (pain and loss of motion in the jaw joints). A review of the literature found that relaxation techniques and biofeedback were more e ective than placebo in decreasing pain and increasing jaw function. Ringing in the ears. Use of relaxation exercises may help patients cope with the condition. Smoking cessation. Relaxation exercises may help reduce the de- sire to smoke. 12/26 9/30/2019 Managing Stress | Disease Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles Overactive bladder. Bladder re-training combined with relaxation and other exercises may help control urinary urgency. Nightmares. Relaxation exercises may be e ective in treating nightmares of unknown cause and those associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Hot ashes. Relaxation exercises involving slow, controlled deep breathing may help relieve hot ashes associated with menopause. Researchers have found no signi cant change in outcomes from relaxation techniques used during cardiac catheterization. However, patients experienced less distress prior to the procedure. Future research may investigate whether this has any long-term e ect on outlook and recovery. Many of the studies of relaxation therapy and health have followed a small number of patients for weeks or months. Longer studies involving more participants may reveal more about the cumulative e ects of using relaxation techniques regularly. Side E ects and Risks Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people. There have been rare reports that certain relaxation techniques might cause or worsen symptoms in people with epilepsy or certain psychiatric conditions, or with a history of abuse or trauma. People with heart disease sho...
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